You know, just sort of that kind of indie rock thing

I used to be a skeptcical music buyer, purchasing new records (always records) only after I’d heard them, in their entirety, at somebody else’s house. Then, in 2000, I took a risk on The Moon and Antarctica by Modest Mouse and was completely blown away. It captured the feeling of growing up angry and jaded in a woodsy Seattle suburb in the 80s and wandering through the woods thinking big thoughts about life and death. I felt like I was 17 again.

So since then, I’ve occasionally bought records based on reviews or recommendations from friends or musical acquaintances whom I respect as players. Some of these work out OK–usually fairly obscure music that never gets any radio play even on college radio, like Friends of Dean Martinez or Secret Chiefs. And I still love the old standbys like Yo La Tengo. (The last song on their new album is the best piece of music I’ve heard come out of the indie rock world in years.)

But the other day I found myself looking through my record collection and seeing a lot of these indie rock records–the “you know, just sort of that kind of indie rock thing” pushed by Pitchfork and KEXP–that I really don’t like and will probably never listen to again. Like:

Calexico‘s last album. They used to be so interesting. Why would they do a straight indie rock album?

Wolf Parade. Issac Brock produced it, which I guess is why it sounds like junior-grade Modest Mouse.

Broken Social Scene. Not bad, but I cannot imagine ever listening to it again.

My Morning Jacket‘s last album, Z. I’ve tried about three times, I keep thinking I should just put on Crazy Horse. (I really liked the album before it.)

The Rapture. Big mistake thanks to reading Pitchfork a couple years ago. (Best album of 2003? Are you kidding me? I don’t know what was, but it wasn’t this.)

Of Montreal. Again, not horrible, but I doubt I’ll ever listen to it again. (This is one of their older ones, not the one with that let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica song, which is pretty decent.)

The Walkmen. Horrible mistake thanks to some chick in the Amoeba in SF who saw me considering it and said it was really great. I think it was the guitarist’s girlfriend or something–they were playing in town that night.

I am getting old. I put on David Bowie’s Low the other night and wondered why nobody makes good music anymore. I mean, what happeened to the spirit of adventure that let this platinum selling pop star make a great experimental record consisting mostly of instrumental synth tracks? Even the indie rock bands all sound like each other, like their only goal is getting on the radio.

Although at least I’m not as old and jaded as this guy.


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